Did you know that with the advent of Pokémon Black and White there are now 649 Pokémon in existence? I remember back in the day when I would watch the anime on television and hear that familiar Pokérap song at the end of each episode naming all the Pokémon that, at the time, totaled 150. I'll admit, I was one of those people who tried to memorize their names, and I also went even further by researching their origins and how they were thought up. And guess what? I still do.
This is the fourth of my many I Choose You! articles where I will focus on one Pokémon or on its evolutionary line and cover its origins and abilities. I'll also include my own opinions about the Pokémon and what I remember most about them. Sure, we all know about Pikachu, Mewtwo, and Lucario. But what about the less famous ones like Sandslash, Whiscash, and Bastiodon? I've added all 649 Pokémon into a randomizer and I will try to focus on all of them as they come and in no particular order. Even if you are not a Pokémon fan, I hope you'll learn a bit about them, how they affected my own gaming experience, and perhaps realize why the Pokémon franchise is still going strong. Hit the jump for Wooper!
When I first played Pokémon Gold, I chose a Cyndaquil as my starter Pokémon and by the time I finished fighting Falkner in Violet City, I realized I was going to need a Water-type Pokémon for better team coverage. Luckily, as soon as I set foot on Route 32, a Wooper popped out of the bushes and instantly became one of my favorite Pokémon.
Wooper was a crucial part of my team early in the game because it was both a Water-type and Ground-type. This meant that it could learn both the useful HM Surf as well as the powerful Earthquake. Despite being severely under-leveled, I remember that I used my Wooper to fight Jasmine's Pokémon once I reached Olivine City. I held off its evolution for a few levels because I wanted it to learn Earthquake first. Wooper's typing gave it immunity to Jasmine's Magnemite's Electric-type attacks and resistance to Steelix's Iron Tail. Once I finished the match, I finally let Wooper go through its well-deserved evolution.
One of the more peculiar Pokémon, Wooper is full of contradictions. The Pokédex states that Wooper is a Water Fish Pokémon, but in actuality, it is based on the Mexican salamander also known as the axolotl. Also, isn't the term "water fish" a bit redundant? While Wooper can evolve into Quagsire at level 20, the real-life axolotl remains in its larval stage throughout its whole life and never "evolves." The axolotl never lose its gills and remains aquatic its whole life, and yet the Pokédex states that Wooper comes out from the water at night to hunt for food. Also, while Wooper doesn't have arms, axolotl don't have to worry about losing their limbs since they actually have the ability to regenerate new ones.
Something about Wooper's beady eyes and dopey face caught my attention back on Route 32 and made me want to train one. Its cry also made me go "aww" and its name reminded me of Burger King Whoppers. I thought it was named for its whooping cries in the wild, but in fact its English and Japanese names come the marketing term for axolotls when they became a popular pet back in Japan in the 90s. Wooper Loopers were sold all over the country and became a national fad due to their pink bodies, cute appearance, and easy maintenance. Unfortunately though, axolotl are near extinction and are currently a threatened species.
My Wooper eventually evolved into Quagsire, but before it did, it helped me through many battles in Johto. I also used it a lot in Pokémon Stadium 2's Petit Cup teaching it Surf, Earthquake, Ice Punch, and Recover to fend off against the nasty baby Pokémon. I remember catching so many Wooper and breeding them to get the perfect one I wanted. Thankfully, Pokémon is a fictional game so no real axolotl were hurt in the making of my perfect Wooper.